By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.com — This fall, Big Ten Saturdays will feel a lot like NFL Sundays.
The conference is beginning its seven-year, $7 billion media deal with Fox, CBS, and NBC — and each will take an NFL-inspired approach to broadcasting its games.
Fox and CBS essentially air marquee games in the afternoons, leading into a primetime matchup on NBC.
“It will look exactly like the NFL looks every week,” NBC Sports President of Acquisitions and Partnerships Jon Miller told Front Office Sports. “Where you see on ‘Sunday Night Football’ we’re promoting … the lineup of games the following week. And then those partners will do the same.”
Miller says he came up with the idea for a “Big Ten Saturday Night” package in 2015 but couldn’t truly explore the concept until Kevin Warren became the conference’s commissioner in 2020.
The two men had a longstanding relationship from Warren’s days as an NFL team executive, which proved pivotal when the Big Ten started negotiating its next media deals.
Ironically, Warren left the Big Ten this year to return to the NFL and become president of the Chicago Bears.